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We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height this past weekend. Cue the complaining from him: https://golfweek.com/2019/02/22/rickie-fowler-hit-with-one-shot-penalty-for-illegal-drop-at-wgc-mexico-championship/ I can forgive him - he just had a brain fart, probably didn't gain an advantage in this situation, it cost him money. I'm always annoyed when I get a penalty, personally, and it's absolutely never my fault, okay? But cue the pearl clutching from the media: https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/25/backstopping-pro-tours-under-policed/ I'm here to tell you that this is wrong, and knee-height drops actually make a ton of sense. One of the best things the new Rules do is simplify dropping. Now, all you have to do when dropping is land the ball in the relief area (without touching you or your equipment before hitting the ground) and ensure the ball comes to rest in the relief area. If you don't do this, you have to redrop. Pretty simple. Yes, you have to figure out what your relief area is, but that's pretty simple, too. (For a fuller explanation of this, see Rule 14 and the definitions in the Rules of Golf.) The old rules were much more complex. Specifically, if your ball rolled to one of 9 areas after you dropped it, you had to redrop. For example, if your ball rolled more than 2 club lengths away from where your ball hit the ground, you had to redrop. You had to know all of these 9 areas to know if you needed to redrop or not. So, the new way is simpler, right? Instead of learning 9 different triggers for a redrop, you only have to learn 1. Great! Why am I talking about when you have to redrop? This is why we're dropping from knee height. Generally, under the new Rules, your ball cannot go as far after hitting the ground as it used to without triggering a redrop. Dropping from knee height reduces the chance that a redrop will be necessary. It also means that a ball has less of a chance of embedding in sand when you drop it. It makes a ton of sense, really. Now, you might say, that's all fine, but why not allow dropping a ball from anywhere above knee height? I think you could easily game the rules to be able to place the ball when you really want to by simply dropping from shoulder height instead of knee height. Think about dropping on a side slope, for example. You're much more likely to have to redrop and place if you drop the ball from a higher point. Sure, this is rare, but why take the chance? We're all on the same page, right? Knee-height drops make a lot of sense. (If you want to know more about the changes to dropping, this is an excellent article that talks about this in a bit more detail: https://rulesgeeks.com/2018/12/30-days-of-2019-rules-changes-day-16-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball-in-playing-it-from-a-relief-area/) Now to the point of all of this: golf media, please take 5 minutes to understand the rule before issuing a HAWT TAKE about the rule. The USGA has a one page sheet that explains the rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html. You don't come off very well when you fail to read that. I know it's fun and easy to just mindlessly bash the USGA, but they do get things right. This is one of them. (Oh and by the way, the Rules are actually really good, as a whole. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post later.)
Last year at about this time, I was added to Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers in America list: (I'll turn 40 in March, so that will put an end to my eligibility on that list). That was cool, and I was honored. This year, while I was returning from the Newport Cup, the lists for Best in State were released. Dave Wedzik and I are in a somewhat odd situation: we're in the Western New York section of the PGA. We've spoken at PGA Education seminars for WNY, NEOH, SOH, and other PGA sections, but none within PA. Votes for Best in State are compiled by asking other instructors in your state to select and rank their peers. Our peers in NY and Ohio have never had the option to choose us (nor, for example, can I vote for John Graham, among others who deserve more acclaim than they've gotten to date - he too is on the Best in State list). Anyway, I missed all the Tweets and Facebook posts about people showing off their "Best in State" status. I forget how I first found out, but at any rate, both @david_wedzik and I are on the list; he's 4th (and a two-time PGA Section Teacher of the Year), I'm 6th. First is Top 50 John Dunigan, a guy I'm happy to call a friend, and a 5SK® Certified instructor. I'm even, somehow, ranked ahead of Eric Johnson, formerly of Oakmont. https://www.golfdigest.com/story/best-teachers-state-ranking That's all pretty nice, and like the Best Young Teachers award, I'm honored. And… that's about all I have to say about that. Thanks. P.S. I think Dave and I are the only two instructors in Western PA. I haven't checked a few of the locations yet, but I'm pretty sure most are at Nemacolin or east, and most are around Philadelphia. P.P.S. Oh, here's the list of PA instructors on the list:
I'm looking for someone who can teach me using Skype/FaceTime. I've been working on my golf swing for the last five months, spending about 10-12 hours a week on the driving range. I've had limited success, however, and I want someone who can work closely with me to provide online lessons, answer questions etc.